‘Super Tuesday’ with a Lowercase ‘s’

Today is “Super Tuesday,” and Texans SHOULD be voting. However, due to the redistricting challenges, Texas voters will be voting almost three months later on May 29 and will likely have little to say about our presidential nominee. Texas holds the second highest cache of delegates to the Republican National Convention with 155 (behind California’s 172). Instead of 419 delegates representing 10 states, there should be 11 states with 574 delegates up for grabs, making Tuesday, March 6 even more “Super.”

At the heart of this snafu are the much-debated redistricting maps which were passed by Texas’ 82nd Legislature, which had a Republican super majority. Regardless of how they drew the new maps, they were destined to be challenged by the Democratic minority. You see, a large part of the strategy here is to use the antiquated Voting Rights Act to silence the Republican majority from having an impact in the Presidential nominee, as well as to gain the maximum number of Democratic seats in Congress and the Texas Legislature. Case in point is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis of Tarrant Co., one of the plaintiffs from the recent litigation regarding fair representation of minorities. Davis claims in an interview with James Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin that her district was “the only Senate district that was drawn in a way that did not protect the incumbent.” Interesting thing is, Wendy Davis is not a minority herself.

Overall, Super Tuesday may still be super – but with a lower case “s”. The delegate payout will be roughly half its 2008 size, but will it be enough to tip the scales? Of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, even if one candidate took them all, Romney (currently at 353) would still need 372, and his closest competitor Santorum, (currently at 203) would need an additional 522 delegates. Of course, it is statistically impossible to win all 10 states, and overall, the real goal here is momentum. Additionally, many of the delegates are allocated proportionally, so a candidate can still win big by finishing a close second.

Texas Republicans will be watching closely as our own convention and delegate selection process has been greatly affected. Delegate positions to the state and national conventions will be even more important than in years past as talk of a possible “Brokered Convention” has been circulating. Should the GOP find itself without a candidate who has won enough delegates to have a pre-existing majority, the Republican National Convention (scheduled for late August in Tampa, FL) could get very interesting.

No matter what the outcome is for the candidates, advertisers have been raking it in throughout these 10 ‘super’ states charging millions of dollars to get their message out to the voters, especially in Ohio. No GOP nominee has ever become President without winning Ohio, which is home to many blue-collar workers including Joe the Plumber. Santorum has a genuine connection to the electorate being the grandson of a coal miner and has increasingly proven to be a strong challenger for the nomination.

Of the other states, Georgia is almost certain to go to Gingrich after he represented them for two decades in Congress; however, Santorum has made an impact with Christian conservatives and the tea party throughout the state. Two other Bible Belt states, Tennessee and Oklahoma, have also been a big battleground between the two with Santorum having the edge. Santorum has even labeled Oklahoma as “ground zero for the conservative movement” and has made strong connections with his pro-life, pro-family message. Romney will likely be the big winner in the Northeast.

Even though Super Tuesday is turning out to be not so super-significant after all, it will still be another step toward November and turning the GOP’s sites toward the White House. In my opinion, January 20, 2013 can’t come soon enough!

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